The Garden: an illustrated weekly journal of gardening 80: 274-275 (June 3, 1916)
Roses for the Rock Garden
"White Lady"

ON all but the smallest of rock gardens a few dwarf shrubs placed here and there among the creeping rock plants will be a welcome addition and will certainly contribute to the beauty and interest of the rock garden. Some of the dwarf Brooms, such as Cytisus kewensis, schipkaensis and Ardoinei, with their masses of cream or yellow blossoms, are very delightful in spring, and these may well be followed by the little Scotch and other low-growing Roses, many of which begin to bloom before the end of May and some continue in flower almost till Christmas.

Our little native Burnet Rose is quite worth a place on the rock garden, as the pretty single milk white flowers are abundantly produced and the habit is exceedingly dwarf. I first made acquaintance with this Rose on the Aberdovey Golf Links, where at one of the holes a clump of these flowers made a particularly seductive bunker. It says something for their vigour that they stood. apparently without much detriment, many fierce onslaughts from heavy mashies and niblicks. Our own plant was sent to us by a friend from the Seascale Golf Links; as it flourishes on those seaside links one may, I think, conclude that light sandy soil will suit it. A variety of the Burnet Rose called Brightness has deep rose-coloured flowers.

The Scotch Roses, garden varieties of Rosa spinosissima, make an excellent little hedge or screen on the north side of a rock garden. If kept well trimmed they grow into compact bushes, which in the latter half of May are covered with sweet-scented and many-coloured blossoms.

Mr. Rivers mentions in the "Rose Amateurs' Guide" that in some of the Scotch nurserymen's catalogues two or three hundred names of Scotch Roses are given. This must have been early in the nineteenth century; now we seldom find more than ten or a dozen. When planting a hedge of these Roses on a low earth wall we were content to buy unnamed varieties, with the result that the hedge is chiefly composed of a blush pink variety with a delicious scent. If the flowers open in fine weather, they are wonderfully pretty for two or three weeks; but if there is much rain just as the buds are opening, they are apt to turn brown ; and, except in the case of Stanwell Perpetual, there is no second bloom among the Scotch Roses; the tiny leaves, however. are pretty in all their stages—in the vivid green of May, or the russet brown of October. The Scotch Roses are apt to encroach somewhat rapidly by means of their underground stems if the suckers are not kept down. The double yellow variety is not so vigorous as the pink and white ones. Mr. Rivers describes the true yellow as a hybrid raised in France. They all produce plenty of berries, and according to Mr. Rivers, if the seeds are sown in October in pots, the resulting seedlings should flower the following spring.

The Miniature Provence or Pompon Roses, great favourites in our grandfathers' gardens, may well be brought back to our own, and if considered too small and insignificant for the Rose garden proper, will adapt themselves well to the rock garden if given some rich soil to start in. Of these, the rosy lilac and the white de Meaux and the pale pink Spong are the best. The deep red Burgundy 1 only know by repute, as the plant sent to us under that name has developed into quite a big bush with pink flowers. These "kindly and gracious baby" Roses, as Dean Hole calls them, should be pruned in the late summer, for if pruned in March or April they lose their right to the title of "spring gladdening" given them by Mr. Rivers. They will stand close pruning; indeed, all Roses tor the rock garden should be those that can be pruned fairly severely, otherwise they might become unshapely and take up more than their due amount of space.

Miss Lawrance's Roses are, however, so dwarf naturally that even if not pruned at all they remain quite small and compact. bushes. As I wrote of these in a recent number of THE GARDEN, 1 will only say here that there are no Roses more suitable for the rockery than these, as besides being so tiny in all their parts they are in flower all the summer through. Our plants of Lawraneeana minima are now (May 15) covered with buds, and a few days of sunshine will soon bring them out. I was interested to read in THE GARDEN of May 6 the references made by "Scotch Rose": to Mrs. Gore's detailed account of the various Rosae Lawranceanae in her "Rose Fanciers' Manual," and am glad to know that others besides myself would like to see these little Fairy Roses once more grown in our gardens. In commercial matters the demand is said to create the supply, and I hope it may be so in the case of Miss Lawrance's Roses. Rosa indica Miss Lowe is a pretty single China Rose of a bright crimson red shade and of dwarf habit. Any of the Polyantha Pompons may be grown on the rock garden, but I prefer to see them in masses in beds. The only exception I would make is in favour of the sweet-scented Anna Marie de Montravel. This has beautifully shaped, miniature white flowers, and it is naturally smaller in all ways than most of this class.

The Pompon Wichuraianas introduced by Messrs. Paul and Son of Cheshunt make very pretty little rock garden plants. There are, I think, some half a dozen varieties, of which Iceberg, with glossy evergreen foliage and well-formed pure white blossoms, and Seashell, with nearly single white flowers, terra-cotta buds and pretty ruddy foliage, are the best. They seem to need very little attention in the way of pruning, and they flower well on into the autumn. Schneezwerg, a rugosa crossed with bracteata, makes quite a dwarf bush if kept well pruned, and its very beautiful snowy white, semi-double blooms are produced rather late in the summer and in the autumn.

Another hybrid, rugosa crossed with foliolosa, makes a good bush, with warm rose-coloured flowers which are sweet-scented and very perpetual; but this requires more room than all rock garden lovers would be disposed to give it. Foliolosa itself, though not so perpetual, is a better rock garden plant. It has very distinct foliage, smooth pointed leaves. practically no thorns, and rose pink blossoms which are delightfully scented and are produced rather late in the summer. It grows from 6 inches to 18 inches high.

The little Corsican Rose Seraphini is an attractive low-growing plant for the rock garden. Its stems are very prickly. In the summer it is covered with single bright pink flowers; these are succeeded by pretty round red berries. We have found more than one self-sown seedling of this variety springing up near the old plant.

Rosa Nitida, from North America, is perhaps the most beautiful of all the dwarf species. The flowers are rosy pink and very fragrant; the foliage is dark green and shining in the summer, turning in the autumn to a brilliant scarlet. The stems, which are covered with tiny prickles. also become bright red; while the round, polished berries are deep bright crimson, the whole having a wonderfully cheerful effect when lit up by the winter sunshine. Like the Scotch Roses, nitida increases rather rapidly by means of stolons; these must be removed if there is any fear of smaller rock plants being choked by them. The old wood should be cut out every autumn, and the young stems, where space allows, pegged down, for they are far more brilliantly coloured than the older ones, and much of the interest of nitida lies in the brightness of its autumn and winter colouring.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of Roses suitable for the rock garden; many others will doubtless occur to my readers, and those who are fortunate enough to possess a large rock garden can plant on it such interesting species as sericea pteracantha, with its wonderful thorns and four-petalled blooms; alpina pendulina, with rosy magenta blooms and pear-shaped berries; and Soulieana, with glaucous foliage.